A Fiber Artist’s Bold And Colorful Home

yellow curtains


brass bull skull


keys hook


gold cabinet hardware


weaver's studio


pink mason jar

Astral & Her Home

Truth be told, we’ve had Chicago-based fiber artist, Astral Riles, on our radar for quite some time. Her penchant for creative experimentation—not to mention her gorgeous Moroccan-inspired wall hangings—make us weak in the knees, and we’re always anxious to see what she’ll come up with next. Entirely self-taught, Astral has managed to learn the ropes simply by diving headfirst into DIY projects and renovations at home, and, of course, this is all while working as an interior designer and adding original content to her namesake blog. We can’t help but wonder…how does she do it all?!

At home, it’s crystal clear that Astral’s aesthetic is largely influenced by her love for the mid-century modern era. With a keen eye for sourcing one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, she mixes old with new to create a sleek, functional home that’s bursting with personality. From the black-and-white textured shag rug in the living room, to the handmade fiber art layered on the brightly painted walls, Astral’s playful lifestyle is apparent every direction you turn.

Today, Astral takes us inside her stunning boho abode room by room. Plus, she shares the driving force behind her art and explains how she manages to balance her creative passions. Read on to find out how Astral’s beautiful home came to life, including time-worn tips that encourage you to show off your own DIY prowess!

wall weavings

mid-century side chairs

When did you know that a creative lifestyle was going to be your path in life? Have you always been artistic?

After college, I had about three different apartments. Each time I moved, I found that I liked decorating more and more. It wasn’t until I purchased my first fixer-upper home back in 2008, that I really honed in on my passion for design. I had free reign to do whatever I wanted and it felt great! I started watching HGTV 24/7 and soaked everything in like a sponge.

Unfortunately, I never had a chance to go to school for interior design. I am self-taught. Everything that I have learned is from TV, magazines and, of course, the Internet. Teaching myself about decorating and interior design was the gateway to being the creative person that I am today. And all of my other hobbies—from refurbishing furniture, collecting vintage furniture and making fiber art home décor—are all things that I taught myself how to do.

kilim pillow

wooden chests

glass coffee table

Between your work as a fiber artist, interior designer, DIYer and blogger, you must be super busy! How do you keep it all straight? Are there any apps or programs you use to keep yourself on-task?

Well, I’d also like to add the fact that I do all of those things in addition to working a full-time corporate job and I am the co-host of a podcast called, “Can I Park Here?”. Let me just say that my days are full for the most part.

My BFF hates this, but I use a lot of post-it notes. They are everywhere around my house with reminders for what I need to do. I also use quite a few apps. My favorite task apps are EvernoteTodoistSell on Etsy (to keep track of my orders) and my iPhone’s Calendar app.

black feature wall

mini potted cactus

macrame plant holder

Tell us about your home!

My home is a two-bedroom, one-bath, all-brick raised ranch that was built in 1950. At the time, I wasn’t really into the mid-century modern style until I saw this house.

What made you decide that it was “the one”?

It was actually the double-sided, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace that won me over. Regardless of the house I chose, I knew that I was going to be doing a renovation. This house was in pretty bad shape but I didn’t care. I needed that fireplace in my life!

round metallic tray

fiber wall hangings

acrylic dining chairs

What were some of your goals and inspirations when designing your home?

Originally, the plan was for me to only be in this “starter home” for a few years. So with that in mind, I chose to do basic renovations and design so that it would appeal to anyone whenever I chose to sell. But, after a while, I realized that I wasn’t ready to move and so I started to redesign spaces according to my mood at the time. That’s when I started painting walls black!

I love different design styles and I didn’t want to restrict myself to having each room look alike. So even though every space in my home is slightly different in style, they all still flow together.

I wanted my entire home to be an oasis for me. I try to incorporate all things that I love and those things are constantly changing. Take, for instance, my living and dining rooms, which are filled with vintage items. I love vintage furniture, so I found a way to incorporate those things without the rooms feeling like actual spaces from the 1960s.

pink mid-century cocktail glasses

Which room proved to be the most difficult? What was the biggest challenge in designing this space, and how did you overcome it?

The room that was the most difficult was the kitchen. When I first bought the house, there was an issue as to where the refrigerator would go. It was odd because the kitchen had two entry points, one of which was clearly unnecessary. This problem had to be fixed before the new cabinets were installed. So my decision was to seal off the extra entry point into the kitchen. Now that is where the refrigerator sits. The upper and lower cabinets were planned out around the fridge. No one would ever know that there used to be a second entrance to this kitchen.

green velvet couch

stone hearth

Can you paint us a picture of a day in your life? What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical weekday for me is waking up about 5:30 a.m. to go feed my new puppy. Then I get ready for my full-time corporate job. Luckily, I take the train to work, so that is a much-needed 45 minutes that I get to check emails and do a bit of posting on social media. After work, I get home, walk the puppy and get some play time in with him. I try to relax for a few minutes before jumping into anything else. I get to work on some of my fiber art pieces, whether that’s trying to fulfill an existing order or make something new. I may or may not have a podcast interview to do. If so, those calls usually last about an hour. Most days I am in bed by 11 p.m.

I used to do blog posts each week, but life is getting too hectic and I barely have time to create content to post about. I’m currently trying to figure out how I can get back to doing posts.

white craft table

green ceramic jar

If you had to wear one shade of lipstick for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Well, I am more of a lip gloss kinda gal. So, I think a mauve (pinkish-purple) would be the shade I’d go with.

woven wall hanging

astral riles

Do you have any secret spots around Chicago to find great art or furniture?

Two of my favorite places to find inexpensive wall art and home décor are HomeGoods and Hobby Lobby (in-store only!). I also recently found this boutique in the Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago called Modern Cooperative. It is a home décor boutique that focuses on vintage furniture and it also sells accessories from local artists. I love that place.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to add DIY touches to their home?

My advice is don’t be afraid. DIY projects add a touch of your personality to the home that nothing else can—and it feels great to be able to say, “I did that!”

Also, one of the main purposes of doing DIY projects is to get it done for less money, right? Well, please plan out your projects first. Figure out exactly what you need, make a list, measure twice and ask questions in the store before purchasing. There’s nothing more frustrating than overspending because you bought things you didn’t need or bought the wrong things.

wall weaving sketch

chevron shag rug

teal wall color

Everything that I have learned is from TV, magazines and, of course, the Internet. Teaching myself about decorating and interior design was the gateway to being the creative person that I am today.

stenciled wall


What are some of your favorite DIY projects in your home?

One of my favorite DIY projects is are the zig zag-print modular credenzas in my craft room home studio. The shelf/cubby bases are from IKEA, and the doors are made from 3/4-inch plywood that I had cut at The Home Depot. The tapered wood legs are from Menards, and the gold arrow handles are from Hobby Lobby.

wood and white craft table

gold ring fiber art

thread holder

turquoise pot

How do you take your coffee?

My favorite coffee drink is a non-fat latte with two raw sugars and whipped cream.

white and gold table lamp

hot pink chair

I love different design styles and I didn’t want to restrict myself to having each room look alike. So even though every space in my home is slightly different in style, they all still flow together.

mustard yellow bedding

tufted headboard

Where is your retreat from it all?

My retreat from it all is my bedroom. I have everything I need in there: TV, sofa, bed, desk for working on the computer, etc. All I’d need to add is a mini-fridge and I’d be all set.

champagne couch

pink tufted ottoman

swan print

What’s next for you? Any big goals you hope to cross off your list before 2016 wraps up?

At this point, I am too overwhelmed to take on any additional house projects. Right now, I am focusing on getting inventory ready for the big events I have this year. Earlier this month, I was a vendor at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, and later on this fall, I’m participating in the Show of Hands holiday event in Chicago.

shag rug

white table lamp

hot pink ottoman


Green Velvet Sofa // Kilim Area Rug // Mid-Century Bar Cart // Metal/Brass Wall Art // White Dining Table // Dining Chairs // 68″ Tufted Fabric Platform Bed // Pink Accent Chair // Moroccan Shag Area Rug // White Desk Lamp // Metal & Glass Shelving Unit // Metal & Glass Desk // Work Table // Framed Wall Art // Fiber Art Wall Hangings


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Author: Carrie Waller

Carrie is the writer, stylist and photographer behind Dream Green DIY, and also is the features editor for Glitter Guide. Follow along on Instagram!

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